“To My Grown-Up Child” by Alice E. Chase is a wonderful poem, which touches and captures the heart of everyone. It essentially delivers an insightful message to all parents – to not to forget to keep aside some special moments for their children; because these special moments of today will become the precious treasures of future, which the parents can continue to ponder over in their old age, with absolutely no regrets. This poem eloquently portrays the deep-rooted anguish and yearnings of a mother, for the years that have simply passed by, and cannot be retrieved any longer. The mom laments over the apparently best choices she had made in the past, as a dedicated mother who is always busy tending to the needs of her child – but not opting to share some fun times and little things asked by her child many a times. The years have now rushed past, and the empty-nester mom now longs sincerely to go back to those good old days when the child used to ask her to do little fun things together (which she used to refuse politely then, by saying “A little later, Son.”) Those well-intended promises of “A little later” seldom come to pass, and neither the lost opportunities nor the precious moments of bonding ever return.
In my view, this poem very skillfully triggers a reality check, i.e. awakens one from the deep slumber to the harsh realities of life – with a quick and sudden realization of how swiftly the time flies and slips through one’s fingers. It’s important to understand, better late than never, that it probably makes no sense in conquering greater heights if one cannot share and cherish small happiness with the child in day-to-day life.
On personal note, this poem was first brought to my attention by my wife, when our daughter had just started with her Kindergarten. We were touched and really intrigued by the insightful and thought-provoking message in this poem. It surely makes one realize that, it’s not those fun-filled socialization with friends or outstanding achievements or even amazing inventions in professional life that could matter finally in one’s life; but in actuality, it’s the good quality time or select precious moments or a few simple little things shared with the child – that’s what really makes the big difference in the big picture. Hence it’s imperative that one should strive to strike a golden balance, for the time waits for no man (and for no woman either). This is certainly one of my top favorite poems, and I would like to share it with the readers of my blog.
Massachusetts, January 28, 2013.
To My Grown-Up Child
My hands were busy through the day;
I didn’t have much time to play
The little games you asked me to.
I didn’t have much time for you.
I’d wash your clothes, I’d sew and cook,
But when you’d bring your picture book
And ask me please to share your fun
I’d say: “A little later, son.”
I’d tuck you in all safe at night
and hear your prayers, turn out the lights,
Then tip toe softly to the door…
I wish I’d stayed a minute more.
For life is short, the years rush past…
A little boy grows up so fast.
No longer is he at your side
His precious secrets to confide.
The picture books are put away,
There are no longer games to play,
No good-night kiss,
No prayers to hear…
That all belongs to yesteryear.
My hands, once busy, now are still,
The days are long and hard to fill,
I wish I could go back and do
The little things you asked me to.
-Alice E. Chase
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